Psychologists say baking reduces stress and anxiety

When people feel stressed or anxious, they often look for distractions, and baking can be just that. (SOURCE: Stirlist)
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - As many people stay home during the coronavirus outbreak, some have turned to baking and cooking. Psychologists say spending time in the kitchen can help relieve stress and improve your mental health.

If you're looking for ways to pass the time, you may want to grab your whisk and measuring cups and get to baking.

When people feel stressed or anxious, they often look for distractions, and baking can be just that. Psychologists say baking provides comfort and gives us something to look forward to.

Many things are out of our control right now, but measuring ingredients and following recipes give us a sense of routine, which can be calming. Psychologists say, ultimately, baking requires much of our attention and keeps us focused and enagaged.

"I think right now, with everything going on, baking is a great way to get the attention off of your phone and your computer and back in the kitchen. You have to pay attention to detail when you're baking because baking really is an exact science," registered dietitian Amber Pankonin tells 10/11.

In fact, the word stressed backwards spells out desserts, and it may be more than a coincidence.

Right now, baking has become a coping mechanism for many to get their minds off of what's going on with the COVID-19 pandemic. Psychologists explain that baking puts your consciousness in the present.

Baking, according to psychologists, triggers our senses of smell, touch, taste and then, finally seeing our end result. They say having something tangible to show for your work will bring a feeling of accomplishment.

For registered dietitian Amber Pankonin, using her hands in the kitchen brings her a sense of creativity.

Baking, specifically, requires you to follow many steps. From preheating the oven, to measuring ingredients, there are many things you have to control in following recipes.

Pankonin and many psychologists say baking can provide a positive way of distraction.

Pankonin tells 10/11, "I think it can take your mind off of what is going on in the world and give you something else to focus on for 30 minutes [or] 40 minutes, whatever it is, just to give your mind a break from what is happening in the rest of the world."

While cooking can be seen as a form of art, psychologists say baking is primarily a form of science. They say absorbing time and attention into specific tasks that require a rewarding outcome, like baking, is beneficial for your mental health.

Right now, many people are showing off their recipes and desserts on social media by using #stressbaking and #quarantinebaking.

For Stirlist's recipe for cherry chocolate chip muffins, visit here.

To try out the recipe for Stirlist's chicken casserole, click this link.

When it comes to food safety, the CDC says there is no evidence showing that COVID-19 can be transmitted through food.

As a reminder, always remember to wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before preparing food in the kitchen.